Thursday, Day 4

Day four in London began with an early rise for the 8:11 Eurostar. Despite a brief delay causing some initial confusion, we soon settled in and sped towards the City of Light.

Arriving in Paris, we headed straight to the Champs-Élysées, a bustling boulevard alive with luxury boutiques, cozy cafes, and the vibrant spirit of Parisian life. The streets were packed with tourists and construction crews prepping for the 2024 Olympics, creating an electric atmosphere.

Hungry, we searched for lunch and were eventually charmed by a charismatic waiter into a quaint street-side restaurant. Though the food was mediocre, his lively stories and witty remarks turned the meal into a delightful experience.

After lunch, we resumed shopping but soon found ourselves tempted by a nearby bar promising delicious cocktails. Seated at a lovely outdoor table, we enjoyed the drinks and the leisurely pace of the city under the warm afternoon sun.

Our day continued with more shopping, our bags filled with treasures and keepsakes. We admired the majestic Arc de Triomphe, marveling at its grandeur against the stunning clear blue sky. Paris, indeed, lived up to its glory.

As evening approached, we made our way back to the Eurostar station for a smooth ride home. Exhausted but happy, we returned to our hotel with our shopping bags in tow.

Friday, Day 5

Friday began leisurely with a late start, enjoying the luxury of a morning without an alarm. We began our day with a sumptuous breakfast at the elegant Park Plaza Hotel, savoring fresh pastries, fruits, and expertly brewed coffee.

Satisfied, we set out for Westminster Abbey, one of London’s iconic landmarks. The short walk there allowed us to soak in the city’s vibrant energy. As we approached the Abbey, its Gothic spires and intricate stone carvings stood proudly against the skyline. Inside, we were struck by the sense of history, with vaulted ceilings, stunning stained glass windows, and centuries-old tombs and memorials telling England’s rich past. We explored every corner, from the majestic altar to King Charles’ Coronation Chair.

Next, we visited the eclectic neighborhood of Soho, a vibrant contrast to the solemn grandeur of Westminster Abbey. Soho’s streets buzzed with quirky shops, trendy cafes, and lively music venues. At Crumbs and Dollies bakery, we were greeted by the aroma of freshly baked goods and indulged in beautifully decorated cupcakes, coffee and cookies.

With it being mid-day, we took the time to embrace a quintessential London experience: visiting Harrods. This legendary department store, with its opulent interiors, offered a shopping experience like no other. We wandered through dazzling departments, eventually leaving with bags full of treasures.

After dropping off our purchases at the hotel and freshening up, we headed to Black and Blue in Waterloo for and early dinner. The modern steakhouse was located close to a jazz bar, and we started our meal delighted with its appetizers. The steaks were perfectly cooked, and the cocktails, though traditional, had a contemporary twist that delighted our palates.

We ended our night with a Champagne experience aboard the London Eye. The panoramic views of the city unfolded before us as the sun began to set in the dista. The cityscape, bathed in twilight hues, was breathtaking. Landmarks like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the Thames River was glorious. Sharing the experience with a delightful group of Texans and Germans added to the enjoyment, and we clinked glasses of Champagne as we marveled at the view.

The London Eye descended and we stepped off.  Slowly we began to make our way to the hotel. For this last day active in the city, we took our time as we strolled along the southbanks of the River Thames remembering the quote of Sir Walter Raleigh.  “There are two things scarce- matched in the universe: the sun in heaven and the Thames on Earth.” Yes, London had truly captured our hearts, leaving us with cherished memories,  a desire of appreciation for history beyond the United States and most of all, a deepening spirit of sisterhood among our trio of travelers.

Saturday, Day 6

Saturday was our scheduled “spa” day, a much-anticipated break in our busy itinerary. As luck would have it, the day greeted us with a steady downpour of morning rain, making it the perfect excuse to stay indoors and indulge in some pampering. We had booked massages at the luxurious Mandara Spa for our trio.

Coincidentally, June 15th was also the day of the annual “Coloring of the Troops” celebration. This vibrant event, filled with historical pageantry and colorful displays, provided the perfect backdrop for our day of leisure. With the rain tapping softly on the windows, we decided to embrace the cozy atmosphere by ordering room service. We relished in the comfort of our hotel room, watching the grand spectacle unfold both on our televisions and from the window, creating a unique and memorable experience.

The next day promised a different kind of adventure with a planned trip to the historic city of Cambridge. But for now, we immersed ourselves in the tranquility of our spa day. Movies were abundant, and we took full advantage of our downtime, curling up with our favorite films and savoring each moment of this well-deserved recuperation day.